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Thursday, September 30, 2004


Guesthouse 

Here I am in DC, writing on the College of Preachers' guest house computer - a nice commodity. My arrival last night was quite clandestine, which was a very interesting experience. Catching a cab from the airport, we drove about 15 minutes to the College where we pulled up into a driveway that was very dark. I paid the man and stepped out of the cab as he pulled away. In front of me was a large gothic, stone structure penetrated by a huge oaken door, illuminated by a solitary light. I felt like the Bishop arriving at the house in "The Exorcist", bag in hand - though mine contained clothes and study books rather than demon-fighting materials. I punched a code into the keypad on the door and it swung open at my touch. Inside, I was greeted by no one; in fact, it was utterly silent and I did not get the impression that anyone at all was present save myself. Following the instructions on my email, I turned to the left and found a bulletin board with my room assignment on it. A good bit of wandering ensued before I located my cozy room. Returning downstairs, I attended a coffee and tea reception that was set up, but alas, I was not much company for myself. So, I retired to shower and do some studying. The morning came to find the building appropriately populated by conference participants, so I was relieved that I was in fact in the right place. So far, we've had lunch. I have met lots of interesting persons from a variety of dioceses and the old rule of six degrees of separation seems to be knocked down to no more than two degrees in the Episcopal Church. One man, working for the Episcopal Relief and Development team, spent hours on the phone yesterday with my Canon to the Ordinary. Another man, a chaplain at Portland State University, went to seminary with Jim Lemler, the former dean of Seabury, and assisted Jim once by acting as translator when they were on a trip to Germany and Jim came down with a serious bout of appendicitis! I met a priest from Long Island who knows Kassinda, a classmate of mine. I ran into a couple from Lubbock, TX who knows "the other Ryan" from my summer CPE group. Yes, indeed, the Episcopal Church is quite small when you get right down to it. So, now the conference is about to begin, and from the materials I received this morning at registration, it looks like it's going to be excellent. More to come later, no doubt.

-R

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Off to Washington 

Washington, D.C. - here I come. I leave this afternoon for the Episcopal Church's Interfaith Education Initiaive seminar that I have been mentioning on and off for a couple of weeks now. It will be a good opportunity to hear speakers from a variety of faiths about how to proceed in this enterprise called ecumenism, or more broadly, pluralism. I also look forward to seeing Bingham, Liz, and Ryan once again for what promises to be a joyous reunion of old and new friends. Having never seen the National Cathedral, I am anticipating at least a few stops in there, prayer book in hand and perhaps my digital camera as well. While the main focus of the conference will be interfaith dialogue, one thing I hope to gain out of it are better skills for doing that, in light of harsh political realities. I'm thinking here, of course, of Palestine/Israel, but there are myraid other places where such isthe case. In the case of places like Palestine/Israel, you cannot have a talk about religion without discussing politics, and vice versa. The important thing is to learn how to effectively do both at the same time. Maybe that's expecting too much, but we'll see.

Of course, hanging over my head all weekend will be the class work I am missing and all the reading I have to do. Classes began on Monday and they have been good, but there is a significant amount of reading to do early on in the term here, in anticipation of two week's absence for "the Plunge". Luckily, there are rest times built into the conference of which I'll take full advantage to get the homework done.

Chapel today promises to be wonderful - it is the feast day of St. Michael & All Angels and the gentleman MCing the service is doing it up proper Anglo-Catholic style. While this is not my preferred style for every worship experience, it is a beautiful and moving way to worship on meritous occasions such as this. Also, copius amounts of incense will be offered, a liturgical rarity here at Seabury that I enjoy. So, now it is off to there, then lunch, followed by Systematic Theology followed by the nation's capital.

-R

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Sunday, September 26, 2004


Before I forget... 

...and get in trouble - again - I need to mention that my family was recently in peril - again - but they are fine now. I guess this is just getting so commonplace I don't feel the need to blog about it.

-R

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The First/Last Supper & Miscellany 

I just returned from the first Canterbury service and supper of the year and it was wonderful. (Last supper for the summer before the school year begins tomorrow.) It was so good to see familiar faces plus a couple of new ones and get (re)connected with all of them. Heather did a fine job for the first official service of the year. She preached a sermon about story telling and, from Psalm 91:12, about the angels in our lives who support us. It was a great sermon with which to begin the year: new freshmen who are wild eyed not knowing anything, sophomores who think they know everything, juniors who know enough to know they know nothing, and seniors who are both ready and afraid to graduate, plus me, a second-year seminarian who enters this year of academia and worship newly forged in the fires of CPE and beginning to realize the priesthood is less a dream and more a reality everyday. I'm also doing my darndest to cut down on the awkwardness factor, given that my ex-girlfriend is the assistant chaplain at Canterbury. I think I'm doing a good job, at least for my part, but it's still a present reality. I think this year at Canterbury will be a good one; I feel very much a part of that community now (oddly, I have the same feeling at Seabury, which I realize now I did not have for almost all of last year) and look forward to all the things this year will bring us.

Sundry other items:

I finished Palahniuk's Lullaby in record time and it was a pretty decent book. More of a good story than any great literary achievement, but still worth a look if you can spare about 4 solid hours of reading. Next on the queue is Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. So far, it shows great promise both as a satire and as a sermon. I've noticed satires are good for that, antithetically speaking of course, which is often the author's whole point. For other good satires of Christianity, check out Towing Jehovah, and Only Begotten Daughter, both by James Morrow, with the first being the better of the two in my opinion. I have to state, though, that you should not read these unless your faith is firmly rooted in solid ground. If you're in a doubting phase right now or are just not sure about the whole Jesus thing, I'd rather point you to C.S. Lewis first. Morrow and Moore both can be just enough to push you over the edge if you're not careful, not to mention their offensive nature if you're geared towards receiving satire in that manner. So, that being said, read at your own risk.

Classes begin tomorrow; this quarter I am taking Systematic Theology, Preaching I, and Church, Culture, and Mission. I'll be opening the year right by officiating Morning Prayer tomorrow and look forward to that ministry. Today was spent renewing things. I cleaned my apartment, did the laundry, changed the bedsheets and towels and went grocery shopping. There's something about starting the year all afresh that just makes sense to me. If that's crazy then just allow me my madness please, 'cause it helps me make sense of things.

-R

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Saturday, September 25, 2004


this is an audio post - click to play

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Shazaam! 

Go see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow! It's awesome! Indiana Jones meets Star Wars meets Jurassic Park meets James Bond and then you have something close to what this movie is. Oh, and don't take it to seriously unless you want to talk about the art of it. Just...go see it.

-R

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Thursday, September 23, 2004


Literature and Film 

Having finished reading Michael Moorcock's 2nd Eternal Champion volume, Von Bek, and wanting to move on to something a little more serious, I picked up Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby. As it turns out, the topics of Lullaby aren't that much more serious than Von Bek's dark themes, but the writing is far more credible and perhaps more important to the literary world. It's a fast paced story, which took me through the first 100 pages in a sitting, about a lullaby (or "culling song") that apparently has deadly potential.

On the film side of my narrative interests now lie Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski's important series of short films, The Decalogue. Each one hour episode derives its theme from one of the Ten Commandments and explores relationships, love, contemporary spirituality in the face of real life situational ethics, and how all those intertwine to form us into the person we are. I'd love to discuss these with someone else who has seen them after I finish watching them all. Any takers?

It should also be noted that an infrequent visitor and even more infrequent commenter to my blog site will hereinafter be known as Macdaddy.

-R

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A Wednesday 

While attending a little get-together this evening with some of the seminary students, I entered into conversation with Gregor, the junior from my home diocese. During the course of the conversation, it happened to come up that he is a Lambda Chi Alpha as well! His Alma Mater is NC State, so he's even in the right conference too! This is wonderful news! More people to root against Duke!! I think it will be neat to have a colleague in the seminary with whom I can share a full undersanding of Lambda Chi. There is just so much that makes sense here...

Secondly, while attending another get-together (this time, of Chicago friends out at a local bar/venue to see a local band called "Head of Femur") I met two guys from France, who were visiting their friend in America, who works with my friend Caroline, who invited me out tonight. That was complicated, but if you followed we'll continue. Though they spoke halting English, which is more than I can say for my Francais, they knew enough to be able to articulate how much the band we saw sucked. I likened the 12-piece group to a jack-in-the-box that was powered by a rip-cord instead of the typical crank, but couldn't quite get choked. They started and stopped. Started and stopped. One section of the huge ensemble would be doing something completely apart from the others. One of the Frenchmen said, once the band actually played a song over a minute in length, "At least they're conceptual now." Hilarious! True!

A Wednesday, now gone.

-R

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Day of Peace 

Today was the International Day of Peace and Ceasefire, but it was also the feast day of St. Matthew (a major feast day for the church) and so we celebrated it in the Mass today. The Day of Peace got a mention in the Prayers of the People, but I would like to more fully honor it here. My senior year at Wake Forest, I designed an interfaith liturgy to celebrate the Day of Peace and to my knowledge it was only used that year, though I left it with the students for their future use. I would like to share that with you now. Feel free to use it if you will; I only ask you give the appropriate credit.

Call to Worship: Surah 1:1-6 (Islamic)

Welcome and Introduction

Psalm 120, v.1-2, 6-7 (Jewish)

Today is the International Day of Peace and Ceasefire. We join with religious and secular communities around the globe today to honor peace and not conflict. We remember those whose lives have been lost and the loved ones they left behind. Now, let us remember those countries and regions of the world that are currently engaged in armed conflict. Let us earnestly and hopefully pray for peace as the names are read. (Reading of the names of countries)

The First Reading: Letter of Paul to the Church at Philippi, 4:4-9 (Christian)

Prayer for Peace (Buddhist)

The Second Reading: Leviticus 26:1-6 (Jewish)

Prayer for the World
We are here, Lord, because we believe.
It is your gift and our struggle.
Help us to free ourselves from all that enslaves us.
Lord, set me free.
We are here, Lord, because we believe in justice.
It is your gift and our struggle.
Help us to work for justice in our own lives, in our nation, and in our world.
God of justice, lead us on.
We are here, Lord, because we believe in unity.
It is your gift and our struggle.
Help us to build bridges, to reach out in solidarity, in sisterhood and brotherhood.
Lord, make us one.
We are here, Lord, because we believe in peace.
It is your gift and our struggle.
Help us to change the injustices and inequalities that destroy true peace.
God of peace, lead us on. (source unknown)


The Third Reading: Surah 56:63-74 (Islamic)

At this time, all are welcomed to offer prayers of peace in general or for specific areas of the world to which they feel called. Prayers may be offered in silence or aloud.

Moment of Silence

The Blessing: Aaronic Blessing
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you;
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Dismissal: Amen. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

-R

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Monday, September 20, 2004


Let Us Break Bread Together 

Today was the first day of Orientation for the new entering class of Seabury, marking a very important occasion: the cessation of my class being the "new entering class of Seabury". As a crew member for the Orientation committee, I volunteered to help two other classmates meet the new students at our doors as they walked through them for (symbolically) the first time. Handing them welcome packets and directing them where to go was a great way to meet each of them and put a face to a name. I was pleased to see that Gregor was among those students to cross our threshold - he is a student from my home diocese and will be a great person with which to share this journey of soon-to-be cold weather learning. I was proud of my other classmates as I looked around and saw each of them assuming new responsibilities and challenges. Attending Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist was also wonderful. The chapel was full of praising voices once again and it was good to be among my peers for the breaking of the bread, some of whom I had not seen in quite some time and will merit a lot of catching up in the coming weeks. After Eucharist we all headed over to the re-designed, better than ever, unbelievable LUNCH! That's right ladies and gentlemen - we fired Aramark apparently and hired a real live chef! No more fried foods with a side of carbs and a cookie for lunch 5 days a week! (Actually, I think I'll miss those cookies...) Today's menu featured a choice of select breads, a CARVING STATION of ham or turkey(!!!), fresh greens for salad, chunky chicken noodle soup, and water - in pitchers already on the table!!! That may seem a simple thing to you non-Seabury readers, but let me assure it is no laughing matter. This was marvelous! I can't go on about it or I'll get too excited again. So, the day was a good one full of good reconnections. As I reflect back on my experience of Seabury Orientation, I cannot help but remember a hilarious IM conversation I had with a buddy of mine the night before my orientation began, which I will leave you with tonight:

Taylor: ok, I'm heading to bed
Ryan: yeah, me too, gotta be up at 7 tomorrow
Taylor: you're aware that tomorrow is saturday, right?
Ryan: Yeah, but they want to orient us on Saturday for some reason
Taylor: I thought you Episcopals had stopped worrying about orientation

-R

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Saturday, September 18, 2004


Same Hairstyle I Wear Now 

Same Hairstyle I Wear Now
Same Hairstyle I Wear Now,
originally uploaded by whitleyrr.
I decided, for lack of anything better to do, to try out this Flickr thing a lot of my fellow bloggers have been raving about. So far, it seems pretty cool, though I need to lower the resolution of my photos so they'll not have such big file sizes, which in turn means more uploads per month. If this becomes too much of a pain I just won't do it, but for now, it seems worthwhile. Enjoy!

-R

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Diversity or Pluralism? 

I've been reading Diana Eck's book entitled A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation in preparation for attending the Episcopal Church's Interfaith Education Initiative Seminar in Washington, D.C. Ms. Eck will be one of the keynote speakers at the seminar, but it will not be the first time I have heard her speak. About the time this book came out, she came to Wake Forest and gave a small lecture to a select group of students (of which I was one) and dined with us afterward. Her book, 81 pages into it as I am, promises to be interesting. In the second chapter, she poses an interesting question: diversity or pluralism? She writes about how a member of the Louisville Interfaith Council challenged her on her use of the word pluralism by saying it was a word which indicated "religious correctness" and the giving up of one's own beliefs and "truth claims" for an unconvincing hodge-podge of nothingness. But, Ms. Eck was not quite ready to give up the term pluralism and said by way of response that "first, pluralism is not just another word for diversity" (70). The particulars boil down to engaging difference (pluralism) rather than simply acknowledging difference (diversity). Pluralism goes beyond tolerance, she posits, and some of the best examples of it have come to us from those in the religious minority: the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Sikhs, and the Muslims. It is an interesting thing for me to think about, this difference in diction. Is a truly pluralistic society like what she describes a possible thing in common America? Is it necessary? Is mere diversity not enough? I am persuaded, not wholly by her argument but by a variety of personal experiences, that diversity is not enough for those who truly want to claim for themselves an understanding and friendship with their religious neighbors. Diversity may be all that can be required of broader America, realistically speaking, but for those for whom it is not enough, there needs to be an avenue for more in depth understanding, true dialogue, and developing friendship. A pluralistic approach seems to me to be one way to go about doing that, and there are certainly many very good examples and models for doing so. What will be important for people to understand, especially people of deep-rooted faith, is that to try a pluralistic approach does not mean having to leave your faith at the door! What the hell good is an interfaith dialogue if we have to check our inmost beliefs with our coats? All that accomplishes is a session of logorrhea that leaves us all feeling mighty good about ourselves without really having done any serious work. No, indeed, a true interfaith dialogue is one where I enter a room, scriptures in hand, to meet my Muslim brother or sister, scriptures in hand, and say how do we understand these differences in light of our common life together? Can they be reconciled? In many circumstances, they will not be able to be reconciled, but they can certainly be better understood and that is a fine thing. The important part will be that we had a serious discussion, informed by our faiths, and advanced the notions that we can live side by side, that we can break bread together, that we can respect the difference inherent in our faiths without intolerance, anger, bitterness, or hatred, and that we can all be American as fully as ever! I believe that you will know you've encountered a true interfaith dialogue not by feeling a spreading warmth and sense of conclusion as you walk out of the meeting hall, but rather by having a head full of new and unanswered questions, a comfortable uneasiness, and a sense of unexplained fraternity that will bring you back to the table even if you are unsure that you're ready to be there again. It is my hope that the conference in D.C. will be such a experience.

-R

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Thursday, September 16, 2004


Bonus of the Job 

As MC (Minister of Ceremonies) Coordinator this year at Seabury, I will be overseeing those students who elect to plan a service and see their plan enacted. It is a great opportunity for learning in our formation to become priests. One of the bonues of the job is the ability to see the Liturgical calendar for the year in advance and decide which of those perfectly blank spaces I will choose to MC. I'd like to MC a few services this year, perhaps a major Feast Day as well as some Lesser Feasts. To start the year off right though, I can think of no better service for me to MC given the halfway facetious award I received at the end of CPE (Chaplain Most Likely to be Found with a Hip-pocket Book of Common Prayer along with the Ability to Quote it from Memory) than the Feast Day of Latimer, Ridley, & Cranmer. Planning will commemce immediately.

-R

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004


"Control is good. Trust is better." 

That was the title of Herr Moltmann's lecture this afternoon at Garrett. Once I became acclimated to his thick German accent, the professor gave an excellent, hope filled lecture on a theology of truth, trust, and reconciliation. He said just as fish need water and the birds need air, so do human beings need trust in order to discover our full humanity. How do we achieve this most lofty of goals? Simple, said he. Always tell the truth, even when it is painful and especially when it makes you vulnerable. Someone in the crowd asked during the Q & A session, "How do we engage persons in the first world who are extremely successful who believe the only way they got there was by not trusting anyone? How do we teach them the strength you are talking about in the truth and in being vulnerable" I whispered to my colleague sitting next to me, "Send them to CPE." Herr Doctor's answer however was not all that far off my mark. He suggested that we engage them in their narrative and we will thereby uncover the past hurts that have made them throw up such defenses. By showing them it is ok to have those hurts we will begin to break down the need for the barrier, to speak nothing of the barrier itself. Fancy words easily spoken to not make it easily accomplished, however. But Professor Moltmann's manner and fervor of belief made it an easier pill to swallow. He inspired. Closer to my heart was the subject raised by another questioner, "How do I engage my students who say that we need to listen more to those people who are causing the problems like those in Israel and Palestine. My students claim the terrorists are the victims." (He then went on to say something about Edward Said that I cannot quite recall right now - help from anyone that was there??) My first reaction was that this man needs to pay closer attention to what men like Said have to say. Dr. Moltmann responded by saying we need to uncover the truth, and a likely source for doing so is to listen to the oppressed, who tend to have much longer and more accurate memories than do history's winners. Get people to sit down together and share stories of how they have been hurt, how they have been affected by the conflict and you will see real people interacting with reality. Barriers will begin to crumble. It seems like a good idea to me, and in many places in Israel and Palestine, such things are already happening. They need to be more widespread and more well publicized. I was glad I attended the lecture and hope that I can keep the heart of what Moltmann had to say close by me. The Truth will set you free.

-R

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He's not dead yet!? 

In a little while I'll be going to a lecture given at Garrett Theological Seminary (United Methodist Church), which is across the street from Seabury, by a theologian of some note. When the lecture by J├╝rgen Moltmann was first mentioned to me, my immediate response was, "He's not dead yet!?" So, to answer myself, "No, he is not. At least I hope not. Because he's speaking in 2 hours." It should be a good lecture and seems like a great way to get me thinking theologically again. More to come after it's finished.

-R

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Monday, September 13, 2004


...and so it begins, round 2. 

Well, sort of anyway. The official school year does not begin until the 27th of September, but today was the planning meeting and retreat of the Worship Committee. I will be serving this year as the Minister of Ceremonies Coordinator, which means I will oversee all services that are designed and implemented by students. One of the unique and rather awesome parts of Seabury is that students are afforded the opportunity to design worship services and then put them into play as often as they feel led. As this is really great practice for our future careers and as the MC Coordinator, I will be encouraging students to really avail themselves of the opportunity. The meeting today was a good, if lengthy one. It was great to see familiar faces once again as these members of our middler class begin to take on the leadership of the student body. One colleague said to me, "Ryan I thought CPE would curb your blogging, but no. It absolutely didn't." Hahahaha. We were also led in the Holy Eucharist by our new Interim Dean, David C. Bowman, Bishop of Western New York, retired. It was good to meet him as well as our new interim director of music, Milner Seifert, of St. Augustine's (the church where I work as well). Tomorrow there will be a Eucharist on campus, so I'll attend that and then next week begins Orientation Week for the new juniors, so I'll be involved there to some extent.

I'm also getting excited about an upcoming trip. I've been given a full scholarship to attend the Episcopal Church's Interfaith Education Initiative Seminar at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.! Thursday, September 30 I depart until Saturday October 2 to a conference full of interesting speakers and exciting opportunities. Faithful followers of the blog will realize this area is where a large part of my ministerial interests lie. I'm looking forward to it as it will also give me a chance to hopefully catch up with some friends, two of whom are at Virginia Theological Seminary and one who is a teacher in the area. That will be great!

I'm in a good mood today if you couldn't tell.

-R

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Sunday, September 12, 2004


The Little Dears 

Today was my first day on the job directing Children's Chapel at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church. For the first service, there were four delightful little girls who seemed to take a liking to me easily enough. The second service was significantly larger, with fifteen kids of a variety of ages! Two parents stayed to help out as they were a rowdy bunch. We had a lot of fun and they seemed to enjoy their activity. The Gospel lesson today is Luke 15:1-10 and so I had cut out little sheep for them to glue onto construction paper. Then, they decorated their "fields" as they desired, some being as industrious to draw in a shepherd or fold up the edges of the paper to make a pen. Once that was all done, they got cotton ball to glue to the sheep so that they would have their wool! It was a fun activity - creative enough to keep the girls engaged and messy enough to hold the boy's interests. We prayed, sang a song, played, and talked. All in all, it was a fun morning and I'm glad to be in this job for a few months. Now that I know what it'll be like somewhat I don't imagine I'll have the same anxieties I had last night next week. After services I had the opportunity to connect with a first-year student at Seabury who just moved to Evanston by the name of Beth. I remember meeting her when she came for a visit and am glad that she'll be joining us this year. Good luck to her and to all the incoming students as they prepare for Orientation Week and the beginning of classes!

-R

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Friday, September 10, 2004


Exercising and Cooking 

The two things which have begun again to be a part of my life starting this week. CPE found me drained, exhausted, and a general slug at the end of each day, so I subsisted on easy to cook meals (tv dinners and pot pies) and didn't even think about going to the gym. Well, with CPE over and nothing much to do between now and the beginning of school, I've started to get back into my routines. I went to the Y today, but to only do cardio. That is the part of exercise that I like the least but perhaps the part I need the most, so I'll be trying hard to incorporate it into my schedule. No doubt tomorrow I'll be sore. The cooking actually began again yesterday, and it began in grand style. I decided to mark my return to the culinary arts by cooking a few gourmet feasts out of my Sopranos Italian Cookbook. These meals are harder to cook and take longer to prepare, but who cares, cause nothing else is going on! Last night I had Bistecca Pizzaiola with fried 'shrooms and tonight I had Baked Chicken with Potatos, Lemon, and Oregano as well as some butter sauteed asparagus. Tomorrow night will feature Veal Piccata with Capers. Until then, ciao!

-R

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Thursday, September 09, 2004


For sh*&% and giggles 

I made a Quiz for you! Take my Quiz! and then Check out the Scoreboard!

-R

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Back to Chi-town 

Having arrived back in Chicagoland yesterday morning, I enter a period of much needed, significant, and extended loafing. Classes do not begin back at Seabury until the 27th of September and so there is little for me to do between now and then. Sure, I've got a couple of odd jobs here and there, errands to run and people with whom to catch up, but nothing large. There's the job at St. A's that'll last two months; during a meeting with the youth workers there they expressed an interest in having the children learn more about Communion, so I think I'll focus on that for the first month and we'll see what comes up during the second. This afternoon I'll be having a meeting to be transitioned into the role of Minister of Ceremonies (MC) Coordinator at Seabury and tomorrow I'll be darkening the doors of the YMCA once again, where I will make myself silly sore and embarrassed for about two months, and then I will be back up to where I was before CPE ended my workout routine.

I also bought a plant.

Noticing a hook hanging from the ceiling in my living room, I thought, "Gee, that sure looks like the perfect place for a plant. But...nahhhhh...I don't need a plant." Well, everytime I've seen that hook (which has been frequently, as I live here) it's seemed empty. So, I went out this morning to buy a plant. Now, I was looking for a fake plant. I can't be held responsible for a live one. However, Target (pronounced with the French intonation) only had real plants, so I had to get one of those. Once before I had a real plant, an African Violet, that belonged to me and my sophomore roommate, Hudd. I took it home to FL for Christmas vacation and my mother killed it with her black thumb. The violet's name was Maurice, and, seeing as how live plants deserve a name, I will be naming this new plant Maurice Jr., though it is significantly larger than Sr. We'll see if he an outlast his old man.

-R

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Monday, September 06, 2004


The [enter scary word here] of Frances 

Well, several days after Frances has left and the news organizations have run out of adjectives, I sit here relatively unscathed. Frances knocked out our power for about 16 hours (better than the 8 days Charley left my family on a generator) so that wasn't so bad. The wind blew, the rain fell, and we sat around periodically looking out windows and rehashing old stories. This morning was spent picking up the yard, swinging a machete (clearly, my favorite part) and chopping with chainsaws. Logs, logs, and more logs with some twigs thrown in for good measure. Trees down. Bushes smashed. Debris blown to kingdom come. My father is pleased with his chipper - a glorified small engine powering a rotating blade system that rends anything tossed into it to instant mulch. Now, on the horizon, looms Ivan - a powerful looking storm that haunts Charley's path. Really it is too early to tell, but Florida will simply have to close if we get nailed again. Both coasts lie in ruins. Those that have escaped as we did are the lucky ones, with only minor damage and few repair costs. Ivan prompts the question: why all these storms in such rapid succession? Is it chance/fate? Is it the result of the accumulation of industrial emissions as some have suggested? Is it the natural pregression of our constant barrage against the environment? Who's to say? Everyone has their theories.

Due to the storm, we did not get to attend church - perhaps it was even cancelled. I was looking forward to returning to St. Hilary's, my home base, for a morning of worship and conversation with old friends. 'Twas not to be so, apparently. Now, I can only hope my flight will leave on time Wednesday morning. Trevor's school has been cancelled indefinately. My Grandmother's home town, Ocala, was hit pretty hard apparently as well.

With emails abounding about the incoming Seabury students and the start of school, I find myself actually looking forward to the resumption of classes and a regular worship life. I've missed Morning Prayer with the community. I wonder how seminary will look to me, post-CPE. Different that's for sure. And, I've my new job at St. Augustine's to look forward too. Though, I can't find myself getting overly excited about it as it will only last two months. My contract with them was for two months only as they were looking for an ordained person to take on Children's Chapel as one of their responsibilities, but I was secretly hoping it would take them longer to find one. Unfortunately for me, it did not. And now, I will retire to my room, to read and sleep.

-R

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Friday, September 03, 2004


Frances Cometh 

Preparations continue as Frances slowly but steadily approaches the East coast of Florida. People are not taking any chances with this one because of the devastation Charley left in his wake. Because we are on the West coast, experts are saying we should be expecting more damage from water than wind. Both elements make up the strength of a hurricane, but folks naturally concentrate on the more dramatic power of the wind rather than the insidious might of H2O. Later on today we'll be going to the local firestation to fill sandbags that we'll bring back to the house and stack around the doors; our home lies only 6 feet above sea level. Trevor was evacuated from Stetson and stopped on his way home to pick up our grandmother, whose home is situated in Central Florida and would be in the likely projected path of Frances. Preparing for one of these is strange; the weather outside right now is delightful - warm, sunny, hardly a cloud in the blue sky. But, one cannot ignore the ruination wreaked by Charley. The fear is that all the debris still lying about from the previous storm will become missiles in the winds of Frances. Crews are working hurriedly to get it all up, but they are only human. So, by way of preparations for this let us offer this prayer:

Lord God of creation, who has made the winds and the rain, the earth and all its parts: be with us now as we brace for this storm; give strength and wisdom to all those who prepare that they may heed the counsel of the National Hurricane Center; comfort and heal those who have already lost homes, livelihoods, or loved ones from Charley; help us to minimize the damage caused by this storm and keep all who are in its path safe; above all, Lord, may thy will be done in all things and may we know thy peace in the midst of turmoil; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

-R

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I Picked the Wrong Time to Come Home 

So, I'm down in Florida for a week for my end of CPE break. Ha. With CHarley just past, leaving much devastation in it's wake, Frances is gaining strength (Already a Category 4 - which is what Charley was at landfall - with 140 mph sustained winds) in the Atlantic/Carribbean and is likely to clobber Florida. The East Coast should be receiving their evacuation orders tomorrow, which means my bro at Stetson will be coming home and picking up my Grandma on the way. My Uncle's family has decided to stay where they are (Ocklawaha) as their house is very strong and Al is worried about his stores. I hope that is a wise decision. We should get it sometime Friday or Saturday if it doesn't turn, but it has already made several turns out there. These storms are so unpredictable that it's hard to know what to do. So, I'll be here for it. See to it that you keep us in your prayers...again...

-R

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